Happy Friday, readers! I'm so pleased to introduce Becca from Drama For Mama. I love Becca's honesty and humor, she's not afraid to admit that she's human and that mothering isn't always 100% bliss. I love this post of hers below. I know you will too!
For more neighbor fun, check out The Never-True Tales by clicking the icon below!
Too tight squeezes. Loving shoves. Silly Head Butts. We all have witnessed the treacherous bond between siblings. The fine line between adoration and hate. The heavenly feeling as you watch your children play so nicely together and the painful pangs as you watch them tear each other apart and wonder, "why is it that I wanted more than one?"
I always knew I wanted more than one child. And when Hannah was about 18 months old and started clearly showing signs of believing the entire world revolved around her (and yes, I was the enabler), I decided to get moving on number 2. The next 18 months were painful and emotional for me. And I BEGGED with all my being for a miracle. But three miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy and 2 IVF treatments later, my wiggly, alien looking adorable, miserably collicky, precious little boy was placed in my arms. I didn't know he'd be a HIM until he was removed from me and I heard the room chanting, "It's a Boy! It's a Boy!" and my first reaction was, well, nausea. Maybe a bit from the anesthesia but also because I had imagined Hannah with a sister. A girl she could have tea parties with and push baby dolls around with. Two giggly girls snuggled in a sleeping bag in their bedroom. Two girls sharing their deepest darkest secrets with one another until the wee hours of the morning. Two girls swapping shoes and jewelry and holding hands as they got their ears pierced. Friends. Soul mates. This scenario came to a quick close when I got a Luke instead of a Phoebe.
The first thing Hannah said when she came into the hospital room to meet her new little brother was, "Mommy, I thought it was going to be a girl?" It wasn't so much sadness as confusion in her voice. Somehow, she had convinced herself of the same future with a sister, just as I had in my mind. I told her that having a little brother would be JUST as special as a sister and that they'd grow up to be best friends all the same. I thought in my head of all of the older sister/younger brother siblings I had known in my life and I realized that their relationships were some of the strongest I knew as far as siblings go. The doting, motherly older sister and the well cared for little brother. I quickly convinced myself that my mismatched pair would also have a fantastic friendship as they grew older.
Over the past two years since Luke was born, I've watched my kids go through many stages. The helpless little brother being dragged around by his arm. The clueless little brother happily being dressed up as a princess. The curious little brother sticking his nose into anything and everything his older sister is doing. The nurturing older sister helping her little brother put on his pajamas. The motherly older sister helping her little brother learn to use a spoon. The newly independent little brother not wanting his overpowering big sister anywhere near him. The Elaine-like dancing older sister teaching her rookie little brother some crazy moves. The worried little brother hiding his possessions from his usually bossy and grabby big sister. The strong little brother pushing his big sister out of his way. The concerned little brother hugging his big sister tight when she's throwing a tantrum and flailing about on the floor. In all of these situations though, the one consistent is that when all is said and done, one is always looking out for, or just looking for, the other. The first thing Hannah says in the morning is, "Is Luke still asleep?" And the first thing Luke always "says" when he enters a room is, "Ha Ha (Hannah)?"
And that's what I "want". One always looking out for the other. I'm not sure how to ensure a healthy sibling relationship between my kids. I unfortunately can't have my kids model their relationship after mine with my brother. As much as I've always (and still do) dreamed of a loving friendship with my brother, I sadly don't have one. When people hear that I have an older brother only 2 years my senior they think I'm so lucky. They think he must have always been so protective of me, that I must have always looked up to him and cherished him. But I didn't. And he wasn't. Our relationship was fraught with jealousy and competitiveness. He always had a way of making me feel bad about myself and I never could find the words to tell him that and fix it. He was always the one with too many words (go figure he's a lawyer now) and I always had too few.
So what can a parent do to help their kids foster the strongest, most secure, most trusting relationship between siblings? Anything? I wonder as they grow whether I should step in to guide them or step back to let them build their friendship on their own. I would think just keeping them a part of one another's lives, going to each others activities, letting them get to know each other's friends, having them participate in each other's worlds would be a good start. And stepping back as they go through the necessary and common stages of hating one another. Most important, I would think is ensuring self confidence in each of them separately, so that the competitiveness is minimized, but I also want to give them confidence as a pair. For them to believe that together, they can conquer the ups and downs of life. That they don't always need to go it alone. That they should be "accessories" for one another. When something is missing, the other will keep them warm, make them smile, make them feel strong and beautiful.
This morning I watched Hannah show Luke how to carefully slide down the stairs on his belly instead of trying to climb down the stairs like a "big person". "You won't fall on your face this way Lukey because you're already going down on your face." She taught him. And he listened. And watched. And then copied. How many times have I told him to go down on his belly? Countless. But his sister only had to show him once. And that's my new dream, beyond the giggly girlie sisters. To have my kids trust each other even more than they trust me.
Thank-you SO much Becca, for this very sweet post. As someone with a "complicated sibling relationship" herself, I found so much solace here.